The man accused of killing his wife and children last week inside their South Land Park home confessed that he had committed a horrific crime to a relative before he was arrested, police told residents who attended Wednesday night’s annual meeting of the South Land Park Neighborhood Association.
During the meeting, police representatives described new details about how officers were first alerted to the quadruple homicide and their discovery of the crime scene.
The gathering at Pony Express Elementary School opened with a prayer and a moment of silence in memory of 45-year-old Angelique Vasquez, her 14-year-old daughter Mia Vasquez, 11-year-old son Alvin Vasquez and her 21-year-old niece Ashley Coleman.
Sacramento police Capt. Dave Peletta, commander for the city’s south area, and Lt. Bob McCloskey of the department’s major crimes unit offered an account of what occurred but told residents they could not go into details because of the ongoing investigation.
Never miss a local story.
Peletta said officers went to the home on 35th Avenue the morning of March 23 after police received a call from an individual in the Bay Area who said a relative had come to his home early in the morning and confessed to something horrific. The caller had not seen the relative in some time and knew only that he lived in Sacramento but had no address.
A watch commander began working with information police had and identified the 35th Avenue home. After receiving no response to knocks on the door, officers picked the lock and went inside, where they found a bloody scene, Peletta said. Realizing that none of the victims was alive, they backed out and called for homicide investigators.
McCloskey said Sacramento police, working with San Francisco police, were able to locate the suspect, 56-year-old Salvador Vasquez-Oliva, Angelique Vasquez’s husband and the father of their two children.
“We knew it was a very specific, targeted crime … It was not a random act,” McCloskey said. “It was a domestic violence situation.”
He declined to say whether police had previously been called to the house. McCloskey said there was no restraining order against Vasquez-Oliva that he knew of.
Investigators spent four days gathering evidence at the home. Noting that some people have asked why it took so long, McCloskey said police wanted to be sure they could present the best case.
“I can’t say why this happened,” he said of the slayings. “That will probably be answered in court later.”
A felony complaint filed by prosecutors in Sacramento Superior Court says Vasquez and the children were killed with a blunt force instrument, and Coleman was killed with a knife.
City leaders and residents held a vigil near the home over the weekend and residents at Wednesday night’s meeting said they would like to offer support to relatives of the victims. Police said the relatives they knew of were all in the Bay Area.
County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy, who represents the South Land Park area, said volunteer chaplains went door-to-door in the neighborhood after the crime was discovered to talk with people and also were on hand Monday at the schools the Vasquez children attended, John Cabrillo Elementary and Sam Brannan Middle School.
Jaime Gerigk of WEAVE – Women Escaping a Violent Environment – attended Wednesday night’s meeting. WEAVE provides services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking. She urged anyone in an abusive relationship or who knows someone in an abusive relationship to contact the organization.
Although no place is crime free, Peletta assured South Land Park residents that they live in a relatively safe neighborhood. Crime in the area for the first three months of this year is down 8 percent from the first three months of 2016, he said.